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More Cars Added to Air Bag Recall List

Law makers and safety advocates are calling on the U.S. auto regulator, car makers and a major supplier of automotive air bags to agree to a nationwide recall of millions of vehicles equipped with air bags that can explode too violently.

The move comes as federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether Japanese air bag supplier Takata Corp. made misleading statements to regulators about the safety of its air bags, people…

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The Price of Hybrid and Electric Cars Is Plummeting. Here’s Why

2012 Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius
David Dewhurst

Among the trickle-down effects of cheaper gas prices are lower sales totals for alternative-fuel cars—which in turn have forced automakers to slash prices on these vehicles.

USA Today just reported that Ford is cutting the sticker price of the fully battery-powered plug-in Focus Electric by a flat $6,000. That’s on top of a $4,000 price reduction on the same vehicle a year ago. The new sticker price is $29,995 including shipping—but not including federal tax credits of up to $7,500 and state incentives that might effectively knock another $2,500 off the amount buyers pay.

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With 56 Million Auto Recalls This Year, How Do You Know You’re Safe?

An airbag igniter is built into a steering wheel for a car at the Takata Ignition Systems Gmbh factory in Schoenebeck, Germany, 17 April 2014.
An airbag igniter being installed at a Takata factory in Schoenebeck, Germany
Jens Wolf—picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

It seems like every other day, news breaks about a recall on millions of cars that, if left unaddressed, could prove deadly. Here’s what consumers can do to ensure their safety.

There are two months left in the year, but 2014 has already broken the record for most auto recalls ever. As of October, automakers had issued recalls for an estimated all-time-high of 56 million vehicles in the U.S. “To put that in perspective, automakers have now recalled more than three times the number of new cars and trucks Americans will buy this year,” the Detroit Free Press noted.

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15 Awesome Cars You Can’t Buy In America

Volkswagen Sciroccos


I grew up longing for the wonderfully odd and soulful cars sold overseas — cars like Nissan’s fire breathing Skyline GTR and Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution (Japan only) or the Ford Escort Cosworth (sold in the U.K.).

I still can’t buy the Cosworth in  the U.S., but I can easily get a GTR or a Lancer Evo.

Blame globalization. Before the planet got smaller, cars were a reflection of regional tastes in design and distinctive national engineering cultures. With globalization and the expansion of multinational car companies, the regionalism that once made cars unique has faded.  

But as much as the modern car business has watered down the local character of automobiles, there are still some gems left that we can’t buy in America. 

Here’s the Volkswagen Scirocco — for most people, VW is synonymous with small, fun cars. However, in America we can’t get the company’s stylish hot hatchback.

The Scirocco was sold in the U.S. until 1988, then replaced by the VW Corrado coupe — leaving its American fans heartbroken.

Audi has extended its S-Line of high-performance cars down to pint-size A1 with the new S1 hatchback. The tiny Audi packs quite a punch, with a turbocharged 231 hp on tap.

Peugeot hasn’t sold a car in American since 1992 — a bummer because the RCZ coupe is an absolute stunner.

The RCZ’s smooth lines and powerful 270hp engine make it one of the coolest sport coupes in the world.

Although Alfa Romeo is making its U.S. comeback with the wonderful 4C sports car, its stylish Giulietta hatchback is still banned from our shores.

The idea of a pickup truck with the body of a sedan is an odd concept, but the Chevy El Camino and Ford Ranchero were cult classics until they were discontinued in the 1970s and ’80s. But the Aussies have kept the dream alive with the imposing Holden HSV Maloo Ute.

The Holden-amino offers the utility of a truck (hence the “Ute”) and the power of a muscle car. On yeah, it’s got a Corvette-inspired V8 engine.

Toyota sells a ton of pickup trucks in the U.S., but one they don’t is the go-anywhere Hilux. In fact, BBC’s “Top Gear” drove one to the North Pole. The car’s near bulletproof reliability has led the company to name a version the “Invincible.”

Land Rover’s wonderfully eccentric, old-school Defender series hasn’t been sold in the U.S. for 15 years, but we still love it for its rugged simplicity.

The Defender hasn’t changed all that much over the years. This early ’90s North American edition looks pretty much the same as a new showroom model.

America doesn’t have the same love affair with station wagons as Europe evidently does. Which is too bad because the Euros are turning out some outstanding examples, like this Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake. This high-performance English wagon comes with a 550hp supercharged V8 and room for all of your stuff.

If a big Benz is more your style, then the CLS63 AMG S-Line with a 585hp twin turbocharged V8 could be your perfect road trip car. You’ll get to where ever you’re headed in style…and at high speed!

There’s also ample room for your luggage.

Very seldom can a car’s level of luxury be described as “imperial.” Unless you’re talking about the Toyota Century Royal, which happens to be the official transport of the Japanese Imperial family.

Although not quite imperial in luxury, the Buick Park Avenue has a long history of transporting Americans in soft, wallowy comfort. Although the modern American Buick has taken on a more contemporary vibe…

…the Chinese Park Avenue is still comfortable and massive. Coincidentally, it’s actually based on the Aussie-built Holden Statesman— a cousin of the Maloo Ute.

Nothing the Park Avenue can muster matches the style and luxury of the Aston Martin Lagonda. The Buick also can’t match the Lagonda’s exclusivity. The big Aston is available in only the Middle East — and even then you have to invited to buy one.

Until recently, Lotus’s Exige was available in the U.S. Sadly, the V6-powered Exige S debuted after the company pulled the Exige line from the States.

The Noble M600 is one of the fastest supercars on the planet, with a 225 mph top speed. Unfortunately, none of the 650hp supercars have made it to the U.S.

The Morgan Aero 8 is one of the coolest and most unique British sports cars around. Unlike its the classic cars that inspired it, the Aero 8 is powered by a BMW V8 and is made of aluminum instead of wood.

Here are 20 cars you can buy in America….

DON’T MISS: Here’s A Guide To The 20 Different Versions Of The Porsche 911 You Can Buy

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Federal Website to Look Up Recalled Cars Crashes

If you were hoping to look up whether your car is one of the millions that have been recalled because of potentially deadly air bag problems, you’re out of luck: The government search site crashed Tuesday morning and remained out of commission late Tuesday night.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration added more U.S. vehicles Tuesday night to its list of affected models, which it put at almost 8 million. It urged U.S. drivers to “act immediately” to find out whether their vehicles came equipped with the faulty air bags, which have been blamed for at least four deaths worldwide.

Because it can take some time for recall letters to arrive in the mail, the agency urged drivers to check for their vehicle identification numbers at But by 9 a.m. ET Tuesday, anyone trying the site was met with a message saying: “Sorry, the page you requested could not be found.” The agency said Tuesday that “intermittent network issues” meant the tool — as well as other recall-related functions of — were unavailable, and it gave no timetable for their restoration.

The air bags, made by Takata Corp., have been reported to explode and rupture, flinging metal shrapnel into the vehicle interiors. In the U.S., affected vehicles were sold by BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota since 2002.



— M. Alex Johnson

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Michigan requires Tesla to sell cars through dealers

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AP PHOTOS: New Gloss on Cuba’s Classic Cars

APTOPIX Cuba Classic Cars Photo Gallery

Associated Press

When Martin Viera’s Chevrolet rolled out of the dealer’s lot, Harry Truman was president of the United States, gasoline cost 27 cents a gallon and a 24-year-old lefty named Tommy Lasorda was pitching for Almendares in the Cuban winter baseball league.

That world is long gone, but the Chevy’s still running on the streets of Havana — part of a fleet of classic cars that have become an icon of tourism in the socialist nation.

For decades, the cars slowly decayed. But officials in recent years have eased state control over the economy by allowing limited self-employment. So those lucky enough to have a pre-revolutionary car can earn money legally by ferrying tourists — or Cubans celebrating weddings — along Havana’s waterfront Malecon boulevard.

That’s allowed many to paint and polish their aging vehicles.

Viera’s 1951 Chevrolet and Osmani Rodriguez’s 1954 Ford are now part of Havana’s tourist draw.

Rodriguez, who has three daughters, said the opening to self-employment “was a great benefit for me. I bought an apartment to live in and really it improved my standard of living a lot.”

The cars may gleam on the outside, but they’re often battered, rolling monuments to ingenuity within. People like Yoandri Failu fabricate parts in crude workshops. Many scavenge parts, particularly engines, from Soviet-era cars and trucks.

While the U.S. embargo that took effect in 1961 stopped the flow of new cars, and most parts, a few Cubans now manage to bring in replacement parts when friends or family visit from the U.S.

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The Ten Best Fun Cars For A 100 Mile Commute

The Ten Best Fun Cars For A 100 Mile Commute

A long commute doesn’t have to be a punishment. It certainly won’t be in one of these cars.

10.) Mazda3

The Ten Best Fun Cars For A 100 Mile Commute

The Mazda3 drives like a FWD Miata and still gets 40 MPG on the highway from its high-compression Skyactiv engine. Couple that with the best interior in the segment and you’ve got a fantastic daily driver on your hands.

Suggested By: svenskfox, Photo Credit: Mazda

9.) Volvo V60

The Ten Best Fun Cars For A 100 Mile Commute

Patrick George wasn’t exaggerating when he said the seats in the Volvo V60 were the “pinnacle of human achievement.” That alone earns it a spot on this list, never mind the fact that it’s pretty good to drive too.

Suggested By: SlabSheetrock, Photo Credit: Patrick George/Jalopnik

8.) Acura Legend

The Ten Best Fun Cars For A 100 Mile Commute

Cheap to own, reliable as hell, luxurious, fuel efficient, handsome, and fun. What more could you want in your daily transport? This is the sort of car Acura should be making now.

Suggested By: XYCromersome, Photo Credit: Acura

7.) Mercedes Benz S63 AMG Coupe

The Ten Best Fun Cars For A 100 Mile Commute

If you have an unlimited budget this is the commuter you should get. It’s big and comfortable as well as being insanely fast.

Suggested By: macanamera, Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz

6.) Saab 900 Turbo

The Ten Best Fun Cars For A 100 Mile Commute

If you’re into the quirks of an older Swedish car the Saab 900 Turbo might just be the ultimate commuter. They’re surprisingly quick, reliable, efficient and good in all seasons.

Suggested By: 900turbo, Photo Credit: Gerald Moore

5.) Chevrolet Corvette

The Ten Best Fun Cars For A 100 Mile Commute

If you’re easy on the gas pedal a C6 or C7 Corvette will return nearly 30 MPG on the highway. When you’re not easy on the gas pedal it’s a fire-breathing V8 monster. Have your cake and eat it too, folks.

Suggested By: JayhawkJake, Dankey Kang owner, Photo Credit: Chevrolet

4.) Tesla Model S

The Ten Best Fun Cars For A 100 Mile Commute

Charge your Model S the night before at home and your 100 mile commute will be quiet, comfortable, and fast.

Suggested By: Chaos-cascade, Photo Credit: Tesla

3.) BMW 335d

The Ten Best Fun Cars For A 100 Mile Commute

BMW doesn’t sell the 335d in the US anymore but if you can find this 425 lb/ft of torque monster, it’s an incredible highway car. Plus, the E90 3-series with its excellent chassis is pretty fun off the highway as well.

Suggested By: Skychismo, Photo Credit: BMW

2.) Citroën SM

The Ten Best Fun Cars For A 100 Mile Commute

The Citroën SM is arguably one of the most comfortable cars ever made, and a hell of a grand tourer with its Maserati engine. Upkeep on an SM would be another full time job but it’s quite possibly worth it. It’s one of the worst, and best cars ever made and you need one.

Suggested By: 2cvhoonage, Photo Credit: Bit Boy

1.) Honda CRX

The Ten Best Fun Cars For A 100 Mile Commute

No one before or since has made a better commuter than the Honda CRX. It was lightweight and great to drive, while getting fantastic fuel economy with bulletproof reliability. It’s all the car anyone could ever need.

Suggested By: MrTheEngineer:EarthRoamer, Photo Credit: Alden Jewell

Welcome back to Answers of the Day – our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day’s Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It’s by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

Top Photo Credit: Honda

US Agency Warns Car Owners to Get Air Bags Fixed

Toyota Air Bag Recall

FILE – This Feb. 3, 2010 file photo shows a palm tree behind a Toyota sign at Earl Stewart Toyota in North Palm Beach, Fla. Toyota is recalling 247,000 vehicles in high-humidity areas as an air bag problem that has plagued most of the auto industry continues to widen. The recall covers vehicles in South Florida, along the Gulf Coast, in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) Close The Associated Press

Associated Press

The U.S. government issued an urgent plea to more than 4.7 million people to get the air bags in their cars fixed, amid concern that a defect in the devices can possibly kill or injure the driver or passengers.

The inflator mechanisms in the air bags can rupture, causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are deployed in crashes. Safety advocates say at least four people have died from the problem and there have been multiple injuries.

Multiple automakers have recalled vehicles in the U.S. over the past two years to repair air bag inflators made by Takata Corp., a Tokyo-based supplier of seat belts, air bags, steering wheels and other auto parts. In a statement Monday, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration warned owners of those cars to act right away.

The agency has been investigating the problem since June, and has cited reports of six inflators rupturing, causing three injuries.

Worldwide, automakers have recalled about 12 million vehicles because of the problem.

The warning covers cars made by Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, General Motors and Ford. Passenger or driver air bags or both could have the faulty inflators. Safety advocates say the problem could affect more than 20 million vehicles in the U.S.

The rare action by federal regulators comes three weeks after a Sept. 29 crash near Orlando, Florida, that claimed the life of a 46-year-old woman. In that crash, Hien Thi Tran suffered severe neck wounds that could have been caused by metal fragments flying out of the air bag on her 2001 Honda Accord. Her Accord was among the models being recalled.

One police agency concluded that the air bags caused her wounds, while another is still investigating. NHTSA is seeking information in the case.

Toyota on Monday issued a recall covering passenger air bags in 247,000 older model vehicles including the Lexus SC, Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia and Tundra. Like many earlier recalls, Toyota’s covers vehicles in South Florida, along the Gulf Coast, in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa — all areas that have high absolute humidity.

Toyota said it’s working with Takata to pinpoint the cause of the rupture and to gauge the influence of high absolute humidity, which is a measurement of water vapor in the air.

Toyota could expand the recall to more areas pending further testing, according to spokesman John Hanson. Toyota says it knows of no crashes or injuries in the recalled cars.

NHTSA urged people to check if their car has been recalled by going to and typing in their vehicle identification number.

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, estimated there are 20 million to 25 million cars in the U.S. alone that are equipped with the faulty air bags.

In the Florida case, Tran turned left in front of another vehicle and the front ends collided. Her air bag inflated. The original report on the death said the seat belt could not have cut the right side of her neck. Also, there was no broken glass and no other apparent cause of the neck wounds.

Initially the case was turned over to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, whose homicide investigators determined that the air bag caused Tran’s neck injuries, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Because the death appears to be traffic-related, the matter was sent back to the Florida Highway Patrol, which has not finished its investigation.

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Jurors in Polo Mogul John Goodman’s Retrial Won’t See Cars Involved in Fatal …

PHOTO: John Goodman testifies in his own defense at his DUI manslaughter trial on March, 21, 2012, in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Neither of the cars at the center of Florida polo mogul John Goodman’s DUI manslaughter case will be seen by jurors during his retrial.

The Palm Beach Attorney’s Office ordered the release of the $200,000 Bentley driven by Goodman and the Hyundai driven by Scott Wilson after Goodman was convicted in the first trial. The two cars were to be crushed.

Goodman was speeding when he crashed into Wilson’s car in Wellington, Florida, sending it into a canal, prosecutors allege. Wilson, 23, drowned.

Palm Beach Homicide Detective Troy Snelgrove testified earlier this week that Goodman appeared inebriated in the hours after the crash. Goodman had watery eyes, slurred speech, and smelled of alcohol, he said.

Goodman was not driving while drunk, his lawyers said, but had a drink after the crash to calm his nerves. Goodman has also said the brakes malfunctioned before the crash.

Since the jurors are unaware that this is a retrial, they have been told the Bentley was released after thorough testing.

“His car was a crucial piece of evidence in the first case,” said ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams. “This is a much better case for the defense this time around.”

Goodman was convicted of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in 2012 and sentenced to 16 years in prison, but the conviction was thrown out when a mistrial was declared because of juror misconduct.

If convicted again, Goodman faces 16 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.

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